It’s not a bad book, but there is something bad in its centre, mixed in like a herb amongst its structure. The implausibility of aspects of the narrative alienates the reader, pushes them out of the narrative. And it’s not a single push, Franzen keeps pushing, pushing in a way that suggests he doesn’t quite know he’s doing it (will they swallow this? he asks himself as he writes. I reckon…).
On the surface, Adam Haslett’s second novel might sound like a lot of other books you’ve read or heard about. It’s about a family, for one thing, which you could be forgiven for suspecting is a whole new genre of fiction created by Jonathan Franzen back in 2001. It’s also about depression and mental illness (which, […]